SEOUL, South Korea — North Korea is believed to have several nuclear warheads that could be mounted on a missile, an international security expert said Tuesday ahead of a rocket launch that regional powers suspect will test weapon delivery technology.
But Daniel Pinkston, a Seoul-based North Korea expert for the International Crisis Group, stressed it is unclear if the communist nation has mastered the technology necessary to mount the warheads onto missiles.
He said he obtained the information from intelligence officials from a country or countries that he wouldn't identify.
"Their assessment is that North Korea has deployed" and assembled "nuclear warheads for Rodong missiles, and there are two nuclear warhead storage facilities near Rodong bases," Pinkston told The Associated Press.
Further fueling tensions, hundreds of U.S. and South Korean troops planned to conduct an air assault exercise Tuesday.
Pyongyang has strongly condemned similar joint drills in the South as preparations to invade the North.